The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to lift the stay on the release of Amitabh Bachchan starrer movie “Jhund”, granted by the civil court and Telangana High Court. Therefore, the movie may not get released for the time being.
A bench headed by Chief S.A. Bobde and comprising Justices and comprising Justices A. S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian declined to entertain the appeal filed by producers of the movie, which moved the top court challenging the October 19 Telangana High Court order, which stayed the release of the movie.
Today, the Chief Justice told the producers’ counsel, “We will pass a direction to dispose of the suit within 6 months.” The counsel replied, “The film will be useless after 6 months. A settlement agreement for Rs 1.3 crore was signed. Now they are not adhering to it. Please consider on merits.”
Senior advocate P.S. Narasimha, representing Hyderabad-based filmmaker Nandi Chinni Kumar, submitted before the bench that there is no such agreement. After a brief hearing in the matter, the top court dismissed the plea.
Earlier, Kumar had told IANS that he bought exclusive rights in November 2017 to make a movie titled “Slum Soccer” on the life of Akhilesh Paul. “Jhund” is directed by Nagraj Manjule and is based on the life story of Vijay Barse, played by Amitabh Bacchan, who is Paul’s coach. He claimed that Manjule, producer Savita Raj and T Series Vice President Shiv Chanana told him that they bought the rights from Paul. Kumar sued the makers of “Jhund” for alleged copyright infringement.
He filed suit in the Kukatpally court on May 13. On September 17, the court barred exhibiting and broadcasting “Jhund” in India and abroad until further orders. It also restrained Netflix and Amazon from uploading or screening “Jhund”.
T-series and Nagraj Manjule moved the Telangana High Court to dismiss trial court’s injunction orders. A division bench on October 19 dismissed their petition. Subsequently, T Series and Manjule filed Special Leave Petitions in the Supreme Court.
Super Cassettes Industries Private Limited (T-Series), had claimed that the movie is based on the life of football coach and not on football player.
The producers have contested the High Court order, saying that it was based on assumption that there is copyright infringement in the life story of Paul, who was the captain of the Indian Slum Soccer team coached by Barse.
Kumar had planned to write and direct the multilingual movie tentatively titled “Slum Soccer” on the life of Paul, who was born in slums of Nagpur and was addicted to drugs. However, his passion for football changed his life and he went on to lead India in the Homeless World Cup.
The filmmaker claims to have registered the story and script with the Telangana Cinema Writers Association on June 11, 2018. He said though Manjule bought rights to make a movie on the life of Barse but “Jhund” also showcases Paul’s story in a major role, thus allegedly violating the copyright.